I have a friend – a rather opinionated friend – who believes that to be ‘truly international’ as a performer you must be paid to do gigs in places beyond Europe. ‘International’ by its very meaning throws this statement out, as it means to cross national borders, and leaving the UK is enough. Hell, if you want to get technical, performing in Wales and Scotland could count (if you were based in England that is), but that’s probably a little too extreme.
Wherever you end up performing, doing it internationally and being recognised for doing so is a great honour. There is some talk about whether an unpaid gig can be put on your CV as international. It is a performance, although I would like to think that if you were to go and perform in another country someone thought you were worth the expense. Paid in the UK should mean payment or some other sort of remuneration overseas right?!
“I fretted for the rest of my flight that my style of burlesque wasn’t right or people wouldn’t ‘get it’…”
Overseas performance can be very nerve-wracking; flying half way across the world to perform and tour damn well freaked me out I can tell you. It hit me with a wheelbarrow full of nerves in Singapore during my layover; I think I may have even vomited in the airport’s snazzy toilets with nerves… Or was it the aeroplane food that caused it?!
I fretted for the rest of my flight that my style of burlesque wasn’t right or people wouldn’t ‘get it’, amongst a million and one other things. It is natural to panic and you are out of your comfort zone, but this is where you come into your own. In a fresh place you can make a BIG fresh impression. Plus it is also like a small working holiday, even if you are only there for a day.
International performances should not make you feel like you are representing your entire home nation’s burlesque style or such like. Instead, you are proving that you are a viable performer to command international success. As we all know, there is a whole lot of different burlesque styles out there and one performer can not represent them all. More like an appetiser to the community we have.
Going international can throw some problems your way, so here is a little handy check list, though not exhaustive, that may help:
– Make a buddy: Connect with someone out there who can help you out. The promoter is probably the best person and they normally take you under their wing anyway. An emergency contact number for someone local is VERY handy.
– Insurance: PLEASE make sure you have insurance – that’s public liability as well as health insurance. Also, for European travel, obtain an EHIC card in addition to the insurance (European Health Insurance Card).
“It is natural to panic and you are out of your comfort zone, but this is where you come into your own. In a fresh place you can make a BIG fresh impression…”
– Visa: Some countries require you to obtain a Visa, so be sure to check that out.
– Customs: Some places you travel to have a limit on what you can and can’t bring in. Australia is notoriously strict, and rightly so.
– Planning: Be sure to write down exactly where you will be and when for someone here in the UK so they can keep track of you. It’s a rather mumsy thing to do but it’s a very good idea, particularly if you are touring. Make sure you know how you are getting around whilst in the country. You don’t want to get stranded.
– Passport: Make sure it’s in date, including for your return. I have been overseas with a performer who realised two days before we were due to leave her passport ran out. NOT GOOD!
– ENJOY IT! Go sightseeing, enjoy the local food, meet locals, etc. etc.
Now poodle off and pack that suitcase! We got countries to shimmy in!